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Spotify Royalties – Do Spotify Artists Get Paid & How?

By Matthew Vultaggio

December 23, 2020

Although Spotify dreams of artists making a real living off of Spotify royalties, do Spotify artists actually get paid every time their song is streamed? Let’s find out, my friend!

Artists on Spotify do get paid royalties every time that their song is streamed. However, the pay rate can vary and artists only get their paycheck 2 – 3 months after the song was streamed.

If you’d like to see how much an artist stands to get paid on Spotify, you can actually check out the best Spotify Royalty Calculator to type in any number of streams to see how much the payout would be for those streams.

However, if you want to learn more about what impacts the Spotify pay rate, why Spotify pays their artists so late, and how Spotify royalties work in general, simply read on, my friend! 🙂

Do Artists Get Paid When You Listen on Spotify?

Artists on Spotify do get paid royalties every time that you listen to them on Spotify.

However, there are 2 main factors that impact how, when, and how much they get paid. These 2 factors are:

  1. Who streamed the song: from what country and if the streamer is on a free or premium account.
  2. How quickly Spotify reports the royalty statement: on average this takes 2 – 3 months.

As you can see, it is not quite simple as anyone streaming the song and then the artists instantly get paid.

So why is that?

Well, to learn all the ins and outs of how Spotify pays its artists and how you can maximize your streams and Spotify royalties, I would recommend reading my article: How Much Does Spotify Pay Per Stream.

In that article I breakdown what exactly influences higher or lower pay rates. If you are an artist yourself, you will find the information there very useful!

But what about that fairly massive 2 – 3 month delay that Spotify has before artists get paid?

In the Spotify forums, a user that uploads music to Spotify themselves mentions that it takes Spotify up to 90 days to report earnings.

Additionally, DistroKid (a music distributor AKA a service that helps you actually get your songs on Spotify) mentions that all stores (including Spotify) usually deliver their earning reports on a monthly basis and that these reports reflect sales and streams from about 3 months ago.

So why is that?

I did some research but couldn’t find the exact answer, so I am speculating a bit based on my own knowledge and experience here, but:

I believe it takes Spotify 2 – 3 months to pay out because they want to confirm that all of the streams you received were legitimate and did not come from any fake playlists or fake streamers.

There would be nothing worse to Spotify than paying out an artist for 1 million streams that the artist actually bought by using bots, click farms or deactivated accounts, or a fraudulent playlist that uses these tactics.

But how can you actually collect Spotify royalties and get paid as a Spotify artist?

Read on to find out, my friend. 🙂

How To Collect Spotify Royalties

Believe it or not, artists don’t actually receive a paycheck right from Spotify themselves..

Artists collect Spotify royalties and payments from a music distributor, who first collects the royalties directly from Spotify on your behalf.

So what the heck is a music distributor?

Great question!

A music distribution company is a company that signs licensing and distribution deals with artists and/or labels so that they can sell that music to stores and streaming platforms like Spotify.

Spotify works with music distributors because these companies make sure that any music that gets submitted is done so properly in terms of file types, artwork requirements, etc.

You can find a list of Spotify’s preferred distributors on the Spotify distribution directory webpage.

But which one is best?

You will notice that the top result on Spotify’s list is DistroKid, as it is the “easiest way to get your music into Spotify”, you can “upload as much as you want”, and “keep 100% of your royalties”.

I actually use DistroKid myself and would recommend them as well. If you’d like to learn more about them and how the different plans compare, check out my article DistroKid Musician vs Musician Plus for more.

How To Upload To Spotify As An Artist (& Get Paid)?

In the previous section, you learned that Spotify does not actually directly pay their artists and instead does that through a music distributor, like DistroKid.

However, did you know that you can’t actually directly upload your music directly to Spotify either?

Yup, that’s right. You need to use a music distributor to do this as well!

To upload to Spotify as an artist, you need to sign up with one of Spotify’s preferred music distributors and submit your music, artwork, and artist information through that distributor.

It really is that simple!

Just make sure you choose a music distributor who allows you to upload unlimited songs, has a reasonable annual fee, and DOES NOT take a percentage of your streaming royalties.

Spotify Royalties Calculator 2020

How can calculate how much artists can make on Spotify?

The best Spotify royalties calculator in 2020 is the Spotify Royalty Calculator by Best Friends Club. This is because it has the simplest design and also includes additional information on how to grow your Spotify streams.

(Also because I made it hehe)

If you would like to calculate a specific number of streams and see how much you (or an artist) would stand to make, you can use a simple calculator like the one I linked just above.

However, where a simple streaming calculator like that falls short is in two main ways:

  1. Converting the royalty payment into your specific currency. Most stream calculators default to USD.
  2. Projecting future streams or multiple different scenarios. Most stream calculators only do a basic multiplication formula.

The more you focus your attention on calculating your current and potential Spotify streams appropriately, the more you can expect to grow your Spotify streams and your streaming royalty payments.

Some of my favorite music marketing tools

Thank you for reading this article, my friend, and I hope you found it helpful as you build your own successful career in music. 🙂

Here is a list of my favorite and most recommended tools and resources that I’ve personally used to get my music streamed over 4,000,000 times on Spotify as an artist.

Any of the paid services or tools listed here are most likely affiliate links, so if you do decide to use any of them, I’ll earn a small commission.

But in all honesty, these are the exact tools that I personally use, love, and recommend to anyone – including my own friends and family.

Music Distribution

To get your music on Spotify on all the other streaming services, I use DistroKid because you get unlimited song uploads for a low annual price.

If you want to learn more about DistroKid and music distribution, check out the in-depth DistroKid review that I’ve put together.

Or, if you want to get started with DistroKid right now, you can save on your first year with the DistroKid discount.

Music Publishing Royalties Collection

For collecting all of the publishing, mechanical, and live performance royalties owed to me whenever my music gets streamed or played, my go-to is Songtrust.

Songtrust is a publishing administration company which means that in addition to collecting all of those royalties for me, they do it on a global level.

To learn if Songtrust is right for you, I’d recommend checking out this article on Songtrust vs BMI.

And if you want to get started with Songtrust right now, I’d recommend learning about the Songtrust discount code so that you can get the best price. 🙂

Website & Smart Links

I’m personally not a big fan of the link-in-bio and smart links for music pages like ToneDen and Hyppeddit.

Instead, I prefer having a full-blown WordPress website that allows me to have a full website in addition to unlimited music links.

For getting started with this, I really like Bluehost because it is the cheapest and a theme called Thrive Themes because it is the most flexible and easiest to use.

I’ve actually created a free Smart Links Course that you can take to learn how to get set up and start getting more streams with custom smart links (I’ve even included the templates I am using!).

Want more tools and resources for your music career?

If you’d like to see even more of my favorite marketing tools and resources for musicians and music artists, I’ve created an even larger list on this page: Best Marketing Tools & Resources For Musicians (& Music Artists).

P.S. There are even some free tools and resources included on that page as well! 🙂

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